Manual machinists love their fly cutters.  But many machinists think that for CNC machining you should use a face mill for the best finish.  Horse pucky. Physics are physics and geometry is geometry. Science and math don’t change just because you machine by hand or with CNC.  Every CNC machinist knows that you just use a CNC fly cutter to get an the ultimate finish.

CNC fly cutter produces a mirror finish

The Finishing Pass and the CNC Fly Cutter

Step one is to get the piece to the specified dimensions.  You take pride in your work, so it’s important the your final product looks good too.  You always take one final step. That’s the finishing pass.  Here’s how to pull it off.

Control Chip Load.  You must control the chips.  When chips contact the work surface they can mess up the finish.  Keep chips out of the way with air, coolant, or a combination of both.  You know flooding the cutting area is important. If you don’t know this, read more  here.

Control Feeds and Speeds.  Keep your RPMs up.  The less time the material spends in contact with the tool the less likely the edge will buildup.  Less edge buildup equals a smoother finish.  Whether you use the CNC Cookbook or another g-wizard calculator make sure you’ve got it set up right.

Use the Correct Angle. Ensure the lead angle is correct.  Use higher lead angles for better results.  A correct tool nose radius is critical to the quality of the finish.  Cleanly remove chips with the right chipload in relation to the radius of the cutting edge.  If you have a large cutting edge radius in relation to the chipload, the cutter can’t get under the chip and cleanly slice it. When heat builds up you reduce the life of your tool.

Don’t Allow Wobble and Chatter.  Tighten your set screws properly. If you over torque you can create the same problem as not tightening enough.

cnc fly cutters set

set of fly cutters

Fly Cut with the Right CNC Fly Cutter

All the tips in all the blogs won’t give you a good finish if you don’t start with a  good CNC fly cutter.

Buy your CNC fly cutter from The Tool Company.  These CNC fly cutters are just better.  They come  in 3 sizes, ranging from 1 ½” to 2 ½” in diameter.  Sold individually or in a set.  The CNC fly cutters are the best because they are:


  • American made
  • Heat treated for long tool life
  • Come with large set screws for more stability
  • Balanced and ready to run at high RPMs.

CNC fly cutter made in the USA

When you want the best finish use the best CNC fly cutter. Buy your fly cutter at The Tool Company. You’ll get the best finish time and time again.

A fly cutter is any single point cutter attached to the mill.  They are a must have finishing and facing tool.  Fly cutters may be more common in the manual machine shop, but CNC machinists know that fly cutters win over face mills when it comes to the best finish. That’s because fly cutters clear a large swath with each pass.  Make fewer passes and get a better finish.  It’s a low-tech tool for a high-tech finish.

cnc fly cutter for precisionWhat Makes a Fly Cutter Great

A fly cutter is a cylindrical body that holds a cutter.  It’s not the best tool for carving out lots of material, but it is dynamite for removing small amounts.  That’s why it is a great finishing tool.

Finishing with a face mill isn’t the same. Face mills use multiple cutters.  And multiple cutters inserted into one tool is a recipe for a poor finish if the inserts are not exactly the same height. Exactly.

A single cutter is the best option when need the smoothest finish. You can get a face mill to do the job by removing all the cutters but one. But why would you? Just start with a fly cutter!

Watch a Fly Cutter Work

See for yourself. Check out the fly cutter at work in this video:

The initial finish might have looked pretty smooth. But, with one pass with the fly cutter there is a much better  finish.

cnc fly cutters set

Set of 3 fly cutters

Use the Best Fly Cutter for the Best Finish

It just makes sense. Use the best fly cutters and get the best finish. And, you get the best fly cutters at The Tool Company.

Pick from 3 sizes. Each size is balanced. Get better stability and cutting action. These fly cutters are American made, like everything at The Tool Company . Each has a 5 year warranty.  So, you know they are made to last.

Don’t get ripped off by cheap fly cutters.  You deserve the best. Order your fly cutters from The Tool Company today.




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